From £130,7259
Sumptuous performance coupé is now a clear threat to the Aston Martin Vanquish, Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari FF

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG S 63 Coupé

The replacement for the CL grand tourer has some big boots to fill, but does it even come close?

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26 June 2014

What is it?

The Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG Coupé is the fastest and, for the time being, most powerful variant of Merc’s stylish CL successor, the S-class Coupé.

Planned for UK sale from September at a price tipped to start at close to £124,000, the big coupé replaces the CL 63 AMG, aiming to provide stiff competition to the likes of the Aston Martin Vanquish, Bentley Continental GT and Ferrari FF.

Power for the initial top-of-the-line S-class coupe hails from the same twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine as that used by the old CL 63 AMG. But while its predecessor was offered with a choice of two states of engine tune, the S 63 AMG Coupé receives just one in what amounts to a streamlining of sales operations.

With a stout 576bhp, it packs 32bhp more than the CL 63 AMG in standard tune and 5bhp more than that offered by the CL 63 AMG running the earlier performance package option. It is also 128bhp more than that offered by the standard S 500 Coupé’s twin-turbocharged 4.7-litre V8 direct injection petrol engine.

The subtle increase in reserves provides the 2070kg S 63 AMG with a power-to-weight ratio of 278bhp per tonne, giving it a subtle 14bhp per tonne increase over the standard 2069kg CL 63 AMG.

As before, it is the torque that really moulds the performance potential, providing the plush new Mercedes with a fabulously potent low-end shove. Swelling to a peak of 663lb ft, it is at the same level as the earlier performance package option, and it can be tapped on band of revs between 2250 and 3750rpm.

The prodigious reserves are sent through an updated version of AMG’s seven-speed Speedshift automatic gearbox to the rear-wheels. The wet clutch unit is a development of Mercedes-Benz’s standard 7-speed automatic, and has received new software aimed at speeding upshifts and providing more intuitive downshifts.

While selected markets are set to receive the S 63 AMG Coupé in 4Matic four-wheel drive guise, the UK sticks with standard rear-wheel drive in a move mirroring that of the its four-door sibling, the S 63 AMG.

Underpinning rear-wheel drive versions of the new Mercedes-Benz is an advanced magic body control suspension that uses a combination of air springs up front and hydraulic operated rear dampers, or plungers as they are described by the German car maker.

They operate in combination with a stereo camera within the windscreen that constantly monitors the road surface and topography and adjusts the underpinnings accordingly.

What's it like?

On the one hand the new Mercedes-Benz is the consummate cross continent luxury cruiser, providing effortless performance, superb all round refinement, a wonderful cossetting ride and truly relaxed qualities in C mode, which is effectively a comfort mode but is known as 'controlled efficiency' in AMG parlance.

Switch it into S mode to dial up sport and there is an instant hardening in character with a noticeable increase in accelerative ability, a sharpening in the response of the steering, improved body control, increased firmness but no great deterioration in the ability of the suspension to absorb nasty bumps and a lovely staccato exhaust note both under acceleration and on the over run.

As befits a car wearing the AMG badge, it is the engine that dominates proceedings. With such prodigious low end torque, the S 63 AMG wafts along in unperturbed fashion on light throttle openings at urban speeds, barely rising above idle and emitting little more than a distant burble in the cut and thrust of everyday city traffic.

It then takes only a fleeting brush of the throttle to see the big coupé reach typical UK motorway speeds. At a constant 100mph the big petrol engine ticks over at unruffled 2100rpm in top gear, providing fabulously smooth and unstressed qualities.

But it is not only the mechanical refinement that impresses. The isolation of wind noise is also superb, endowing it a gratifyingly serene character. It is no surprise to hear Mercedes-Benz describe the new S-class Coupé as the quietest car it has ever built. Even in S 63 AMG Coupé guise, it delivers overriding tranquility at speed.

However, there is also huge urge and satisfyingly aggressive aural qualities when you open the throttle to unleash its full performance , and it makes for devastatingly effective overtaking potential, helped in part by the unflinching willingness of the gearbox to pick up lower gears. Top speed is nominal pegged at 155mph, but an optional driver’s package allows you to raise it to 186mph, if only for the bragging rights in many countries where the new Mercedes-Benz will be sold.

Indeed, for a car that tips the scales on the wrong side of two tonnes, S 63 AMG is remarkably swift. The heady levels of on-boost acceleration make light work of the mass, with the result that it feels like a much lighter and smaller car, where it displays outstanding longitudinal stability even at break neck speeds on undulating roads.

The rear-wheel drive model bound for the UK is claimed to reach 62mph from standstill in just 4.2sec, making it 0.2sec faster to the universal benchmark than the old CL 63 AMG fitted with the optional performance package and 0.4-sec faster than the standard S 500 Coupé  The addition of four-wheel drive cuts the time to just 3.9sec owing to superior traction off the line. But like the S 63 AMG saloon, it is not planned for the UK owing to packaging problems centering around the front driveshaft.

It takes only a few hundred metres on a winding road to discover the S 63 AMG Coupé has successfully raised the dynamic standard over and above the CL63 AMG. Incredibly agile and astonishingly surefooted, it hides its size remarkably well with superb body control and chassis balance, thanks in part to its hi-tech underpinnings which use a stereo camera built into the windscreen and sensors within the electronic stability control system to constantly alter the characteristics of the advanced suspension.

Roll, pitch and squat are superbly regulated, endowing the new up-market coupe with terrifically composed qualities on all sorts of roads surfaces. The mapping of its vast array of driving aids, including its electronic stability control, is also unique. In S mode, they are unusually unobtrusive, functioning only when they are really required.

There is now improved steering precision around the straight ahead along with, thanks to the adoption of a completely front suspension geometry with additional track width, added front end grip and ability to carry speed up to the apex without any premature breakaway – all of which makes the new Mercedes-Benz a more engaging car to drive than its predecessor. Much of the dynamic aplomb can be traced to the inherent stiffness of the S63 AMG’s body structure, which uses a combination of high-strength steel and aluminium.

For those seeking the ultimate in comfort, Mercedes-Benz offers its latest AMG model with an advanced new curve tilting function as an option. Incorporated into the magic body control system, it leans the S63 AMG into corners in a fashion similar to that of a motorcycle. It takes some before you feel really at home as the side of the car closest to the inner side of the corner drops down to provide the tilting effect.

However, claims of added comfort appear to be fully justified, although the big wheels and tyres of the S 63 AMG Coupé do tend to contribute a fair deal more surface roar than those of the standand S 500 Coupé  whose ride quality is even more impressive. As a further upshot of the new tilt system, there is also an improvement in front end grip and a clear ability for the car to carry higher speeds through corners.

Before you even experience the many driving delights of the S 63 AMG Coupé you’re already aware of its inherent quality. Many interior elements, including the highly detailed instruments graphics and switchgear, are shared with the S 63 AMG saloon.

However, a uniquely designed dashboard and other bespoke touches such as an automatic arm that delivers the seat belt on a long arm each time you close the door, it imparts a fittingly expensive and solid feel that is further enhanced by a range of new features, including an optional head-up display unit and panoramic sunroof that can be order with Mercedes-Benz’s so-called magic sky control self-tinting glass.

The broad front seats are firmly cushioned, offer excellent lateral support and boast a wide range of electronic adjustment, making Mercedes-Benz’s latest performance model supremely comfortable.  It is a different story up back, though. While offering greater levels of accommodation than before, which robs them of width. They’re entirely suitable for shorter journeys but most adults are going to feel cramped and claustrophobic after a while, owing in part to the broad and high front seat backs.

Owning to the new sloping rear end design, boot capacity is also reduced over the CL 63 AMG, dropping from 490 litres to 400 litres in the name of style.

Should I buy one?

At around £124,000, the S 63 AMG Coupé is set to be pitched close to £30,000 above the standard S500 Coupé when it goes on sale in the UK. However, the premium seems well justified.

The primary attraction of the new Mercedes-Benz, apart from its drop dead good looks, is its ability to offer two very distinct driving experiences. For all round performance, sheer dynamic prowess and driving enjoyment the Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG Coupé is right up there with the very best performance coupés on offer today. And it manages this is while providing class leading ride quality, overall refinement and terrific build quality.

It’s a far more rounded car than the CL 63 AMG ever was, and as such a clear sales threat to the likes of the Vanquish, Continental GT and FF.

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG Coupé

Price £124,000 (est); 0-62mph 4.2sec; Top speed 155mph; Economy 28.0mpg; CO2 237g/km; Kerb weight 2070kg; Engine 8 cys, 5461cc, turbocharged petrol; Installation Front, longitudinal, rwd; Power 576bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 663lb ft at 2250rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
13

27 June 2014
Clearly a highly accomplished super GT and it looks good too. But (there's always a but), I find that dashboard, particularly around the dials and display screen area, very bulky looking and not really in keeping with the elegant look of the rest of the car.

27 June 2014
too obviously TFT. Apart from this, clearly a very attractive car. Who would want the AM now? Having only the choice between the two, I'd opt for this - its the purer car.

27 June 2014
I know the power struggle is ongoing, but 2070bhp is surely too much.... must be a heavy bugger though it it's only got 278bhp per tonne.

27 June 2014
In the first picture it looks like a CLA to me. Knowing the size of the S-class on which it is based means therefore that those wheels must be enormous!

27 June 2014
This looks the business. Here's hoping for that lottery. I'll take mine in black and red leather interior please... Absolutely love this machine. Sounds properly teutonic.

27 June 2014
The TFT is ugly. IMO, all TFTs are ugly -- they look like imitation gauges, which, of course, they are. It makes it look like you're sitting inside a computer. Some may like that. I don't. Otherwise, clearly this car is quite a feat of engineering and, moreover, technology. But I don't find it appealing to me at all. I don't want to be made unaware of what the road surface is like. The new "amazing" things it can do simply don't add anything to what I want a car to do. Gaco1, I'd take the Aston every time.

27 June 2014
The dual screens ruin a classy looking interior. If they wanted to do a smart looking digital dash, they should of looked at an LFA. That looks so flat and nasty. A real letdown to the overall interior feel of the rest of the car.

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28 June 2014
I think I'm in the minority but I don't much like the design of this or the current range of Mercedes as a whole. I don't like the way the shape of the headlights are dictated by the grill shape, and the fussy swage lines particularly on the A class and CLS. The latest SL is just so ugly where it should be simple and timeless.
The rear three quarter view of this coupe is exactly like the Renault Laguna Coupe, but not as successful in my opinion.
I really hope Mercedes can find a new design language that apes the 80s where the 190, C and SL class were simple, elegant and solid looking designs that stand the test of time even now.

28 June 2014
Alfarich wrote:

I think I'm in the minority but I don't much like the design of this or the current range of Mercedes as a whole. I don't like the way the shape of the headlights are dictated by the grill shape, and the fussy swage lines particularly on the A class and CLS. The latest SL is just so ugly where it should be simple and timeless.
The rear three quarter view of this coupe is exactly like the Renault Laguna Coupe, but not as successful in my opinion.
I really hope Mercedes can find a new design language that apes the 80s where the 190, C and SL class were simple, elegant and solid looking designs that stand the test of time even now.

you stole my lines! :D

i agree those TFT look a bit b-class to me, something i would have thought be on a childish looking a or b-class.

28 June 2014
As we know we are in the era of technical development so in automobile sector also it follows. In particularly for German car like Mercedes They are developing their design, interior everything day by day. For keep pace to recent technology you should find a place for your car servicing and maintenance in a regular time interval, so select a proper place for repairing and maintenance.

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